Wife-killer Hans Reiser grills potential civil trial jurors 

click to enlarge Hans Reiser, right, with his attorney during his 2008 trial. - S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • S.F. Examiner File Photo
  • Hans Reiser, right, with his attorney during his 2008 trial.

Opening statements will be presented this morning in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against convicted murderer Hans Reiser by his two children.

Reiser, 48, is serving a term of 15 years to life in state prison for killing his wife, 31-year-old Nina Reiser, at his home in the Oakland Hills on Sept. 3, 2006.

During jury selection Tuesday, Reiser, a former computer engineer who is acting as his own attorney, asked potential jurors if it would be moral to kill someone if that person were abusing children.

Reiser — dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit and guarded by three prison guards, two bailiffs and two court attendants — asked one prospective juror, “What if the only way to stop harm was killing the person? Would it be moral to kill that person in order to protect the innocent?”

The juror answered, “It’s never moral, in my mind, to kill anyone for any reason.”
Reiser later excused that juror.

But Alameda County Superior Court Judge Dennis Hayashi, who is presiding over the case, later warned Reiser that during the trial he won’t be allowed to try to justify killing his wife.

“The issues that were dealt with in your criminal trial are not to be re-argued here,” Hayashi told Reiser.

By his questions, Reiser appears to be indicating that he will argue during the trial that he killed his wife to stop her from harming their two children, Rory, now 12, and Niorline, now 11.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified general and special damages, along with punitive and exemplary damages.
The children have been living with Nina Reiser’s mother in St. Petersburg, Russia, since December 2006.

Their attorney, Arturo Gonzalez, said today that they won’t be returning to the Bay Area for the wrongful death case.

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